A couple dear friends were writing about the need to either arm our teachers or use a parental / volunteer quasi-militia to defend our kids during school. After I pointed out the redundancies, they asked me to expound. Below is my response. I was going to put it on three spots on Facebook. But instead of spamming the threads, I’d rather put it on my site, add a link to those threads and let them comment wherever they like.

I wouldn’t normally be political, but having worked at a public location after 9/11, feeling like we were playing roulette with the next car that could come up given the unannounced bomb threats we were told to “keep cool” about, one tends to think a bit about these things. Also, my hometown made CNN for two days a year after Columbine because a disgruntled Freshmen transfer from Chicago presumably didn’t like his suburbia surrounding and decided to use a knife to take it out on the Spanish class. Props to the teachers for taking the kid down before anyone died.

Preface.

I’m really not a fan of further gun control at this point in time. When people point to the success of England and Australia with their gun bans I about lose it because those are two island nations without too much to guard. To paraphrase the movie, Jaws, they’re just gonna need bigger boats. They don’t have a cartel-torn, warring nation in crisis below them or soft borders above them in heavily wooded mountain terrains as does the United States. As long as we have a relative free-for-all black market with drugs, guns, prescription pills, immigrants, exotic pets and wow-I-don’t-want-to-think-of-the-sleeper-agents-in-this-country, we’ve got to be pretty loose and fluid with that second amendment right to a militia until we get better with our smuggling / border safety. Then, let’s see how peaceful we are at that point. Hopefully our responsibility with leading edge technology in weaponry handles itself. It’s hard to stay on the cutting edge if we handcuff ourselves no matter what the field of technology is because, believe it or not, privatization has more than been helpful keeping our military ahead of the bad guys.

While I’m at it, you’re welcome, France.

Regardless of your party of choice, advocating a policy that would require redundant layers of financing, operations, management, marketing, dedication, training, compensation & insurance – unless you really think a parental militia can take down a deranged 20-year-old equipped with assault rifles, a squadron’s worth of ammunition & full body armor by using a hunting rifle & God on their side (vote to the latter) – is not the most efficient, effective way to go about protecting our most precious resources. The orchestration the level of which you are providing would require incredible execution.

Not only that, this militia force would then be used the next time a movie theatre is shot up like in Aurora, CO, a like a mall in Portland, OR or Merrillville / Hobart, IN, like a military base in Ft. Hood or like a college campus with armed guard security as in VA Tech. It would only need to break once to realize the overhead and redundancy isn’t needed because if you could actually get all that, then the deranged would probably go back to gasoline, ammonium nitrate fertilizer & a car battery. Those results seem to be even more catastrophic and easier to access.

Tracking of weapons

The government track vehicles, cell phones, wi-fi, prescription purchases & library books. They probably tracked my library checkout of the Mein Kampf in college. They do that so they know where commodities come from – as in the case of Newtown where the guns were owned by the mother and used frequently at the shooting range by her son. Such tracking is used to determine these situations. The guns were as much stolen as a parent’s car is “stolen” when the kids go on a joy ride & a shopping spree with daddy’s Discover Card. Unfortunately, this discovery was far worse.

Sales of weapons at trade shows.

Government should shut down the loophole making it easier to sell guns at trade shows. Every gun bought and sold should require much more moderation and tracking. If gun owners are as diligent, steadfast and careful with the weaponry as claimed, this shouldn’t be a problem. Unless the dedication is less than advertised. And before you think it infringes on your privacy, I have a girlfriend who’s having trouble focusing at work because the nurse gave her the wrong adhd med prescription and she has to take another day off and go back to the doctors in Chicago to be present for a new written prescription. If she’s going through that many hopes for stuff she already takes, why should guns be so easy that it should be swapped like and probably for velvet Elvis paintings?

Arming teachers.

You are telling me that the 24-year-old fine arts teacher would have the same fortitude, hand-eye coordination and instincts as an officer of the law would have in those moments? What about the 60 year old Spanish teacher or the other artisan-minded individuals from all walks of life who chose to give to the younger generations. Now they’re supposed to have battle armor, pinpoint accuracy and experienced combat-ready judgement to know whether or not to take the shot. Newtown, the judgment is simple. The other nine times, it will be incredibly difficult to tell. Police forces go through hours of training and have years of experience to be able to accurately determine whether or not a situation is a threat. Both are completely different walks of life. That’s not Apples to Oranges. That’s Artisans to Art of War. And, no, I’d be bet under 1% of the teachers could ever be warrior-poets.

That Marx guy.

You want increased community involvement with parental militias and teachers with guns in their hands. Maybe the hall monitors can get Smith & Wessons too if they’re 18. Maybe the pottery class can use the kiln to make bullets and the technology students could make shields. 100% community effort. 100% community participation. The system such as this falls apart the moment any aspects of such a situation dip below 100%. Democracy / Oligarchy / Capitalism work because those who chose to participate determine the success. Those who don’t specialize in something else or starve – and the system self-cleanses. Adam Smith personified. Force a community – in this case, the schools – to police, provide quasi-military support against quasi-terrorism threats and in the meantime educate becomes, by transitive properties, communistic by nature. The inefficiencies in the system takes everyone down. And, yes, there will be inefficiencies. We are not machines. It’s like straight out the Communist Manifesto.

My point to this is that my friends are making it too difficult. I admire the passion but if you and your brethren continue to be concerned about “your rights” instead of focusing on “our issue,” you’ll probably lose your guns in 2014. As I prefaced, not that I want that.

I would recommend the following:

1) Work on improving ancient systems such as education. Enhance online education. Expound on experience credit for those students who perform activities outside the school or simply want to learn faster. This will free up some resources and lessen the burden of keeping kids in class all day, every day.

Not only that, help encourage kids like the shooter who couldn’t find community within the school. If his interests land outside the school, then encourage him to follow them.

2) Update mental health resource allocations. We have to come up with a better way to help those release their pent-up frustrations. We’re not reaching them. We’re not communicating with them. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what we can find.

3) Focus on the smuggling / black market to keep them further under control.

With these improved inefficiency in the above areas, we should be able to free up resources for the following:

1) Update the police resources – you can’t solely be focused on school security. Kids go to movie theatres, shopping malls. We get 6k to a basketball game on Friday nights back home. Our beaches get full in the summer. We have baseball leagues, basketball leagues. If a mother can buy battle armor and armor piercing rounds for their kid in presumably a desperate attempt to connect with her son, beat cops should be able to defend against it. The days of Roy Rogers in a flannel shirt and a Stetson are over.

2) Come up with a system that that is proactively maintaining and updates these systems.

And then, only then, might you be able to keep your guns. More importantly, we might not have to endure more monthly vigils for the next series of tragedies.

But if we continue to think this an A/B problem..

…we’re all going to suffer.

With over 350 million registered Americans, seldom is anything an A/B problem. They all get marketed that way because then they fit into a 15-second commercial spot with sensitized images and heartstring music for the candidates with the pretty strong yet sobbing faces (almost 50 years and the Republicans ain’t learned that one yet) because typically very few will research the issue deeply.

Not to be the cynic, but if we think the problem is JUST gun control or JUST mental health or JUST education or JUST the black market resource drain, we’re going to run into more issues. Painful, unthinkable issues – at least at this time. The relativity is the worst part of it all.

My hope is that as a whole we can dig our hands in the dirt and focus on a real solution to a problem even if it goes longer than a segment of prime time television to fix it.

Now for the commercial break…

In the meantime, get ready for the gun tax to pay for the security.

photo credit: pasukaru76 via Flickr

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